Here’s the question worth pondering: what happens when the hot team, the team no one thought would even get this far, never mind that some didn’t think they’d make the playoffs, plays so well that it takes more than a week off? All this, while the team that everyone expected to be here is fresh off a seven-game series and in a groove? Something has to fucking give right now. So, with that in mind, we have to lean on some old, familiar biases and begrudging admissions about league quality.
Starting pitching: it’s Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Fogg, and Aaron Cook against Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Jon Lester. Advantage to the Red Sox, but neither Dice-K nor Lester are bullet-proof here. If the Rockies can scratch a win out against Beckett or Schilling (the latter is more likely because he’s old), then consider this a real series.
Bullpen: There’s no 8-9 combo to like better than Okajima to Papelbon. But the question is that middle relief before you get there. What if Schill can’t get you more than five? What if Matsuzaka gets uneven in Coors Field? I’ll take the Rockies’ middle relief over Boston’s, and Sox fans better hope Francona never has to go to Eric Gagne.
Hitting: Five guys with 90+ RBIs (Rockies) vs. a line-up with Youkilis, Manny, and Big Papi (and don’t forget how Pedroia and Lowell are hitting). Edge to Boston for having more experience with the playoffs.
Defense: Really not a comparison. The Rockies turn dinky infield hits into double plays. There’s not a lot of Boston players that are super-solid defensive gloves.
Heart says Rockies in seven, head says Red Sox in seven. Take Boston.
Photo: AP/Elise Amendola